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How to Shrink a T Shirt in 2 ways

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It is not unusual to come across an oversized shirt when shopping in a store. It may be too alluring for us to buy despite its droopy size. Or, at times, our favourite shirt becomes stretchy and doesn’t fit perfectly due to wear and tear. However, you don’t need to fret. It is still possible to conserve and shrink a t shirt to fit you effortlessly, especially if it is made of pure cotton and is not pre-shrunk.

In our article, we have highlighted 2 key methods – washing machine and boiling water – to assist you in how to shrink a t shirt.

Important points to bear in mind

Before you follow the steps to shrink your cotton t shirt, it is important to consider some significant aspects. 

Firstly, you should ensure that the shirt you plan to shrink is pure cotton. Why? Because pure cotton is much simpler to shrink. If your shirt includes materials other than cotton, the shrinking process may not be as effective.

Suggested Read: Polyester vs Cotton vs Blends: Which One Is Better?

Secondly, be mindful that you can shrink your cotton shirt only to a limited size. Typically, the shrinking sizes range from 1 and 3 percent of the overall size. You can’t convert your excessively large shirts into small sizes through shrinking.

Thirdly, keep checking the size after each shrinkage method, as you wouldn’t want to shrink your tee beyond your definite size.

Finally, the elongation process is complex and more laborious than shrinking. Therefore shrinking is relatively immutable, and you may not be able to undo it. 

Tips On How To Shrink A T Shirt In Boiling Water

Pour Water Into A Big Pot

The pot should be as large enough to immerse your t shirt completely. Ensure that any part of the t shirt is not outside the water. Additionally, it would help if you did not boil t shirts of different colours simultaneously in the same pot, as colours might seep into one another.

Place Your T Shirt In The Pot

Next is to place your t shirt in the pot and turn on the burner. Let the shirt soak in water for about 20 minutes. However, suppose you intend to shrink your t shirt a little. In that case, it is recommended to soak your shirt in the boiling water and then turn off the burner to allow the water to cool for five minutes. After the water cools, you can soak your t shirt again.

Place Your T Shirt In The Dryer

Next, you should attentively take out your t shirt from the pot and place it in the dryer. You should turn on the highest settings on the dryer to render your t shirt entirely dry. It is advised to check the dryer frequently to ensure your t shirt has not shrunk excessively. If the t shirt has shrunk to your required size before entirely drying, you can remove the t shirt and hang it to dry.

Repeat The Process If Required

Though you will see visible shrinkage in the first process, if you still acquire your desired size, you can repeat the process repeatedly. Nevertheless, allow your t shirts some space lest you cause damage to the delicate cotton fibres.

Shrink A T Shirt In Boiling Water
Shrink A T Shirt In Boiling Water

Suggested Read: How To Fade A T-shirt

Tips On How To Shrink A T Shirt In The Washing Machine

Place Your T Shirt In The Washing Machine On The Highest Setting

It would be great to place your t shirt alone in the washing machine drum in place of including it in a regular load. Significantly. The movement of your clothes in the washing machine determines the shrinkage level. To prevent colour seepage, adding white vinegar or detergent is recommended. 

Use The Highest Temperature For Drying

After the washing process, place your t shirt in the dryer. Set your dryer to the highest temperature and run the drying process till the t shirt is not completely dry. Check your t shirt frequently to see if it gives you the desired result. However, keep in mind that machine-drying your garment can impact its appearance making the tiny fibres rough. 

Repeat The Process If Necessary

You can keep repeating the washing and drying process until you haven’t received the desired shrinkage level, as done in the boiling water method.

Shrink A T Shirt In The Washing Machine
Shrink A T Shirt In The Washing Machine

Also Read: How To Tie Dye A Shirt


Shrinking a new or an old t shirt is much easier than you thought. Our article highlights two effective and easy methods for shrinking T shirts to fit you. Depending on which method suits you better, you may either opt for the boiling water or the washing machine method to shrink your favourite tees.

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Olivia is a seasoned blogger and printing enthusiast with a flair for fashion. With over three years of experience in fashion, she brings a unique blend of creative insights and industry knowledge to her readers. Passionate about the art of printing and the latest fashion trends. Her engaging writing style and expert guidance make her a go-to source for anyone looking to explore the dynamic world of fashion printing.

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